An under-fire care home is now being investigated by police following the death of one of its residents, it has emerged.

Last week, the Epsom Guardian told how Clive Morris, from Epsom, had removed his elderly mother from Firtree House Nursing Home, in Fir Tree Road, Banstead, because of concerns about the care she was receiving.

Mr Morris accused the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of being "complicit in the wrongdoing of nursing homes" as it failed to publish reports of inspections carried out in February and May this year on its website - until he contacted it to ask why last month.

The two reports showed Firtree had not met a number of key standards including care and welfare of people, medicines management, staffing, notification of a death of a resident, providing care, treatment and support that meet people’s needs, caring for people safely and protecting them from harm, and quality and suitability of management.

After reading this newspaper’s article on the nursing home, Trudy Hampton got in touch about her father Frank West, 86, who died in October 14 at Epsom Hospital, 11 days after he was admitted - saying that had she known about the failed inspections her Dad might still be alive.

Mr West had been a resident at Firtree since August and his care was funded by Surrey County Council.

Although Mr West died of natural causes, he had pneumonia and she said police had told her there was a high level of opiates in his blood when he was admitted to Epsom Hospital.

He was taken there with a head wound after he fell out of his bed one morning.

An Alzheimer’s sufferer who was unsteady, Ms Hampton said it was important her father had ‘cot sides’ up on his bed at all times to prevent him from falling off.

She said Surrey Police told her there was no record of her father being given opiates at the care home and that they were investigating the matter.

Ms Hampton said when she asked the home’s matron about the opiates, she was told a doctor prescribed them for her father as he was "aggressive" - something Ms Hampton refutes.

She said just three weeks before the matron had said of her father: "He is an absolutely charming man who is no trouble at all".

The daughter also believes anomalies remain as to how her father fell out of bed.

In one account given to her by the matron, she was told that a nurse, who was trying to wash her father and had the cot sides down on his bed to do so, left him alone to get assistance, during which time he fell out of the bed.

She said the matron told her this nurse has been suspended as she should never have left Mr West alone.

Ms Hampton also questions why no one at the home picked up on Mr West’s pneumonia.

She said: "He wasn’t happy at the home.

"In his lucid moments he would say 'get me out - keep fighting girl'."

"Residents wandered out of the front door.

"I witnessed a patient who wasn't violent or aggressive shouting 'don't do that to me' at a nurse.

"Her reaction was quite appalling. He was trying to say 'help me' and held onto her. She said 'get off me, don't touch me'. The nurse was slapping him. It was really, really awful.

"A lot of residents were quite dopey and had injuries on their heads where they were falling."

She added: "They must have known Dad was ill. He was very dopey upon admission.

"The hospital said unusually so. He was almost in a vegetative state.

"I have lost my dad and my life is in tatters."

Surrey Comet:

Adrian Hughes, chief inspector of adult social care in the South for the CQC, said on Tuesday that it inspected Firtree again in July and a number of shortcomings were identified, leading to it being issued with two warning notices.

He said: "We are aware of the death of Mr West and our thoughts are with his family.

"CQC undertook an inspection at Firtree in July 2014 as part of our new approach to the inspection of adult care services.

"This inspection identified a number of shortfalls in the service to the people living at the home and we have issued two warning notices.

"These notices require the provider to take action to deal with the areas of concern we identified.

"We shall be undertaking a further inspection to assess whether the provider is complying with the required standards.

"The provider will be aware that failure to comply with the requirement of the warning notices will lead to further enforcement action.

"The home is being monitored closely and we are in close contact with the SCC adult safeguarding team to check that people living in the home are being kept safe and the provider is delivering high quality and consistent care."

A spokeswoman said the warning notices relate to assessing and monitoring the quality of the service provided, and medicines management.

The CQC said the report for the July inspection is not yet ready to publish, but it is "working to make the full findings public as soon as possible".

Ms Hampton said one of the points she wants to raise with the CQC is why its two inspection reports from February and May were not published on its website until last month.

She said: "Had we known more or been informed or read about the situation at the time I would have done a lot more about it and it would have given me the gravitas to get him out of there."

She said she is talking to her solicitors about bringing a private prosecution against the home.

But Salim Jiwa, the owner of Fitree, told the Epsom Guardian that Mr West's family told him several times that he was happy at the home and they were "extremely happy" with the care he was receiving.

He said: "There was a big transformation in him when he came to Firtree for the better.

"We are extremely sorry this has caused distress to Mr West’s family. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family.

"He was a much-loved resident at Firtree.

"This matter is under police investigation and we are unable to comment on this matter at this present time."

Mr Jiwa said he believes the two warning notices referred to by the CQC were issued as a result of the February and May inspections - during which time he said the home had a temporary staff shortage.

He added: "If they came now, we hope we have resolved all the shortcomings."

A Surrey County Council spokesman said Mr West’s death is being looked into by Surrey’s coroner and that it will be meeting Firtree’s manager this week.

"A top priority of the council is ensuring all Surrey care homes meet residents' needs, including private homes like Firtree House in Banstead that accommodate council-funded residents," he said.

"We will continue to review and monitor on a daily basis the care being provided at Firtree following the CQC inspections."

The CQC’s "new approach" to inspecting services centres around it issuing a Handbook to care providers to help them understand how they will be assessed and rated by the CQC.

Specialist teams, including trained members of the public, will inspect services and the CQC will rate them as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

Announcing its new model for inspections earlier this month, Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said: "The handbooks mark an important milestone for CQC and the adult social care services we regulate.

"The detail in the handbooks is about making the Mum Test real.

"On their visits, I will ask our inspection teams to consider whether these are services they would be happy for someone they love and care for to use."

Have you or a relative had a similar experience at a care home in the area? Contact Hardeep Matharu by emailing